King Bhumibol Adulyadej complied with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s request on 9 December to dissolve the Parliament and call for early elections, which will take place on 2 February 2014. The decision was fueled by the resignation of all opposition deputies from the Parliament on 8 December. Political tensions have been high between the ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP) and the opposition Democrat Party since 2006 when the Thai military launched a coup against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, following a year-long political crisis. Tensions intensified a month ago, when supporters of the opposition (the so-called “yellow shirts”) took over the streets of Bangkok in protest of an amnesty bill the PTP had proposed. The amended bill offered blanket amnesty to Thaksin, Prime Minister Yingluck’s brother, who has been in self-imposed exile since 2008 in order to avoid facing charges of corruption.
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